Crater Lake, Oregon

Marian writes:

Our Senior National Park pass is well used by now.

So many people asked us if we had been to Crater Lake yet. When we told them we hadn’t they confirmed it was a place we wouldn’t want to miss.

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The lake was created when a 12,000 foot volcano called Mount Mazama erupted and then imploded. The lake is almost 2,000 feet deep and is said to be the cleanest large body of water in the world.

The rock walls around the lake change colors as the sun moves and seem to accentuate the blueness of the water which is almost mesmerizing. We arrived around noon the water must have been at its best for surely it was a perfect example of a blue crayon.

The little island that rises to an elevation of 6940 feet in the lake is called Wizard Island. It’s a cinder cone that formed from later eruptions.

My favorite surprise was Pinnacles Overlook. Colorful spires, 100 feet tall, are eroding along the canyon’s wall. The Pinnacles are “Fossil fumaroles.” (who knew) It is said volcanic gases rose up through a layer of volcanic ash, cementing the ash into solid rock. They were really weird and the setting sun continually changed the view. When the wind picked up they were almost spooky in their beauty.

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We got together for dinner again with Billy and John in Bend and also took advantage of a park activity in the middle of a charming community. A band and movie were provided. People had their blankets laid out all over. There were bouncy houses and a guy making balloon animals, swords, and guns. Even food trucks provided delicious flavors to enjoy. It was fun to relax and enjoy a lovely summer evening with the community. We watched the International Space Station pass over for the second night. It looked so close it might have been confused as an airplane but our Night Sky App confirmed what we were seeing.

Traveling Blessed USA

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Bend, Oregon

Marian writes:

About twelve years ago Jim’s mom needed to go to Bend because her sister was dying of old age. Her only family in Oregon was her handicapped daughter. Everyone else was working and couldn’t get away so I said I would travel with her. His mom thought she just wanted to go out and tell her sister good-bye so we got tickets to only stay three days.

We arrived at the Portland Airport just as the sun was setting and the sky was the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. The many clouds against the blue sky were maroon lined with gold. We were in awe. That was our introduction to our trip to Oregon.

After a nights rest we headed toward Bend to the hospital in hopes of getting there before the precious sister was gone. We zoomed through the beautiful scenery of the state focusing on our destination.

Arriving at the hospital we found her sister was still conscious. The two were able to spend the day together talking about serious things I wasn’t a part of. Instead I said I would wait in the lobby so they could have those precious moments together. It was Sunday and the lobby of the hospital was lovely. To add to that people came in all afternoon to play music. A piano player came for a while, then a harpist, and a violin. I had a wonderful afternoon just enjoying the hospital’s environment.

When I went to the hospital cafeteria the whole room had a wall of windows with full view of all the snowcapped mountains in the area. Amazing.

We spent the night in Madras after visiting the niece. Next morning we went back to the hospital but my mother-in-law insisted I go to the room with her. When we entered the pastor was visiting and the nurse said she wouldn’t be living too much longer. The pastor said he would stay in town so he could come if needed.

We took seats on opposite sides of the woman’s bed. (Some people think this story is morbid or depressing but we all need to remember death is part of life. This precious lady had finished her life well. There was nothing to be sad about. We were there to be with her and fulfill her last requests.)

Soon a nurse came in and asked if the patient liked music. My response, “Yes, she likes Christian music.” At that the white dressed angel walked over and closed the door, then came back, sat down on the bed, and took the frail hands in hers.

“So you like Christian music,” she replied. The nurse began to fill the room with her beautiful voice as she sang, “Amazing Grace.”

I thought, “We have just had the funeral.” Nothing could have been more beautiful.

Then the nurse rushed out and came back with Burl Ives worship music to play quietly while we waited. That was perfect music for a woman from that generation. I’m sure she knew the songs well.

A short time later the sister breathed her last. The pastor came back and asked what we would like to do for the funeral. She already had all her funeral arrangements made so he agreed he could let the church family know her funeral would be the next day. We agreed. We left the hospital and drove back to Madras where Jim’s mom bought out the only florist in town. There was no time to wait for another order of flowers but the florist made a beautiful spray for the coffin and other bouquets.

We still had part of the day left so we took one of the beautiful scenic drives through the forest.

Next day was the funeral. She was buried in the town cemetery that overlooks all the mountains. The view was Oregon at its best.

We thanked everyone. Said our good-byes and flew home on our original flight.

The whole experience felt divinely guided.

I came home telling Jim we had to go to Bend, Oregon one day so he could see how beautiful the area is.

That is the story of why we are in Bend. This time we’ve had totally different things to see.

Traveling Blessed USA

Mount Hood, Oregon

Marian writes

Mount Hood RV Park is a beautiful area on the way to Mount Hood Mountain.

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Timberline Lodge resides about 6000 feet up a good curvy road on Mount Hood. The National Historic Landmark was built in the late 1930’s by the workers of the Works Progress Administration. The men who built the rustic resort building were much more than carpenters. They were artist. As you enter a three-story bulky stone fireplace demanded a pause to reflect on the impressive construction. I was fascinated by the rugged door handles and hinges that were hand created. They were huge and primitive but worth stopping to appreciate. My favorite part of the lodge was the banisters. Each newel displayed an animal carving that was about ten-inches around. They didn’t appear to be chainsaw art but showed a rugged forest skill that had been smoothly polished with varnish.

We drove out to see the area on Sunday afternoon in August. There was still plenty of snow at the height of the lodge and the ski lifts were running. We watched a parade of people and kids descend the slopes carrying their snowboards. The sun was shining brightly as they stomped by in their boots toward the parking lot. Who would think of people snowboarding in August? I guess it would be those who live in the mountains.

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We were also pleased to connect with Mark Seger and his family who live in Portland. They have a new son who is ten months old and a beautiful ten year old daughter.

Bandon, OR

Marian

Goodbye California, Hello Oregon.

Driving along the Pacific shores I couldn’t image this state would have beauty to rival what we’d already seen. Such a thought was completely wrong. God continually displays unique places that take our breath away.

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Bandon is one of the small fishing villages along Highway 101, the coastal road. Today the old buildings have been transformed into cute shops. The locals are quick to tell you which places to try. One was a little old building on the harbor which looked freshly painted a bright sky blue. The population of the community is 4000, and while we had lunch there customers continually streamed in and out for fish and chips, and clam, crab, or smoked salmon chowder. The pier outside was a community gathering place where log sculptures turned a stroll into an art exhibit. I especially enjoyed watching the people on the docks pulling up their crab cages which you could rent at one of the shops. Then take your catch to another spot where they cook them for you.

Another darling store was Cranberry Sweets. Just as we found the entrance a charming lady burst out to greet us. She was wearing a fluffy dress and a flat topped straw bonnet with ribbons and flowers around the rim. Her sweet voice warmly welcomed us in. She explained the building was one hundred years old and they once made the candies there, but had outgrown the space so now they only sold their delicious sweets. The founder was a home economics teacher. The area grows cranberries so she experimented with the local product until she created a jelly cranberry candy square. Ms. Sweets gave us samples and after eating the one bite I had to just stand there and savor the goodness. It didn’t even sound good to me but the flavor was delicious. Next our guide explained the entrepreneur wanted to perfect candy that tasted like lemon meringue pie. That’s my favorite pie so I had to try that one. After taking a bite I stood there dreamily. The best of any lemon pie was in my mouth minus the crust. Jim offered me a chocolate sample but I didn’t want any other flavor to violate what I was experiencing. Perfection. You know it’s good if a woman passes on chocolate. Needless to say I took some home.

Sorry, I got lost in the candy. Anyway, our hostess said they had samples of all the products for us to try as much as we wanted. Then she took us to one of those mirrors that make you look skinny saying we didn’t need to feel guilty. We could just look in the mirror.

The shop also had beautiful household items. Everything was so pretty. The whole experience was … refreshing.

The town also boasts the third best golf course in the nation. People are friendly and quick to get acquainted.at the RV parks. At Bandon we met another couple from Texas. He was excited to play their course because his travel goal is to play a golf course in every state and this was one of the best. It’s always interesting to see how people choose their destinations. Many want to go to all the national parks. We met a couple who had a large notebook to collect all the stamps of the national parks as souvenirs of their visits. Some parks have as many as five different places to find them.

As we visited with the Texas couple we learned they live in Eagle Mountain Lake. Ten minutes from where we lived.

We were in Bandon on the first Monday of the month when the tsunami alarm was sounded. A woman’s voice blasted across the whole community that the alarm was about to blow. When the noise quieted she announced again that it was only a test. We have been in and out of tsunami areas all along the coastline.

One of Oregon’s lighthouses guards the rocky shores here. Its fog horn still rhythmically sounds the warning of the rocky cliffs. We enjoyed watching the ocean waters crash against the shores from the cliff park above the lighthouse where walking paths make a nice stroll for the community. Seals lazily spread across the rocks below.

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